GIVE Where You Are
"Start where you are,"
It's a phrase derivative often used to encourage those of us who have been putting off grandiose dreams and ambitions because we believe that our current state in life has somehow limited our ability to achieve.
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." - Arthur Ashe
This quote from Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe, seems fitting in a time when people tend to spend their time wishing their lives were different; and then use those wishes as excuses for failing to take action -
if only I had a different job
if only I had more money
if only I wasn't married
if only I had married someone else
If only I were married
if only I didn't have children
...and the list goes on.
The Truth is, you don't have to be a multi-millionaire to be a philanthropist. And if you're waiting to get more money before you start giving - you're only fooling yourself.
A giver will always give.
Whether a giver has $1 or $1 billion or 1 hour of their time - a giver will always find a way to give because that's what givers do - they give.
Unfortunately, in a society where we are often focused on building a name for ourselves, or busying ourselves with increasing our status in life, or achieving a certain dollar amount in our bank accounts, giving right where we are often falls to make our priority list.
Too often we are more concerned with becoming KNOWN than actually being GENEROUS, right where we are.
Or we're so busy complaining we forget that one of the greatest ways to practice the art of gratitude is to help and serve others.
While we may be struggling to keep the lights on in our homes, there are those who have no place to call home.
While we may not be able to eat at our favorite restaurants every week, there are children who haven't eaten in 24 hours, if not longer.
While we see going to church every Sunday as too cumbersome, there are those who are dying for their faith and living with the threat of death every day.
If you're only about building your empire and getting this "paper" (or "coin"), then giving may not seem very appealing to you.
There's not very much room for generosity when we are blinded by our own selfish ambitions. Nevertheless, GIVING is one of the most important things we can do.
And it doesn't matter where you are in life, you Can GIVE where you are.
Danny and I have become more and more intentional about giving. It's something we're very passionate about, helping to affect change right where we are.
It's so easy to say you support a cause, or you believe in an organization, or even that you want to help expand the reach of God's Kingdom and the Good News; it's another thing entirely to actually direct your time, efforts, and money into these areas.
As the old saying goes, "Put your money [or your time for that matter] where your mouth is."
Here Are 5 Reasons You Should Give
1. You were created to give.
You're not here to take up space. You're not here to just eat, sleep, work, and die. There is more to life, and more to YOUR Life.
You are here, on this earth, at this particular moment in time, because you have something unique to contribute.
You are not here by mistake. You are God's gift to the world around you, a gift created to keep on giving.
2. You've been on the receiving end of giving.
All of us, at some time or another, have been on the receiving end of someone else's generosity.
Whether it was a few extra dollars, or a moment of someone's time because we needed someone to talk to, we've all found our selves in need and had those needs met by someone around us.
Giving allows you to be that someone to the people in need around you - whether those people are in your community or continents away.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. - Acts 20:35
3. Giving perfects the art of gratitude
Cultivating a heart of gratitude seems to be a dying art these days. Many of us complain without even thinking about it - griping has become an involuntary reflex when things don't go according to plan.
But through the act of giving - whether we give of our money or our time - we can acknowledge all the good in our lives and realize our lives are not as bad as we once thought.
The fact that we can spare a moment for a friend in need or for the cild in need of a mentor, or even that we have money to give, is proof that we have more than enough to be thankful for.
4. Giving can shift your perspective from poverty to abundance.
"The hand of the giver is always on top."
If you feel like you are always the one in need, I challenge you to give to someone (or an organization that helps people) with an even greater need.
In doing so, a mental shift will take place. You will change your perspective from a poverty mindset (gimme - "I'm in need") to an abundance mindset (giving - "I have more than enough"). What you think matters.
Instead of focusing on your current lack of means and deficiencies, GIVE and focus on the areas of abundance in your life.
You may not be rich in money, but you can give of your time. You may not have the time to spare but you can give money to those who are able to affect change using such resources.
5. You can never out give God.
You have been created in the image of The Ultimate Giver - GOD.
The ONE who gives life, and offers to give it more abundantly through Christ. The Giver of every good and perfect gift. The ONE who by His grace gives to both the just and the unjust.
Try as you may, you will never be able to out give GOD. When we seek to meet the needs of others our own needs will be met with abundance from The Ultimate Giver. This abundance may come in many forms (love, joy, peace, and yes sometimes financial blessings) but one thing is certain, it will come.
Give and it will be given to you... - Luke 6:38
There is no better time than the present to be a GIVER.
Give where you are. Give what you have. Give what you can - because your generosity and contributions matter and will reverberate through time for years to come.
Thank you for giving.
Note: Photos are from a Shoebox Decorating party I attended in April for the United Way Shoebox Project. Items were donated and placed in the decorated shoeboxes along with encouraging notes and will be distributed to men, women, and children who are experiencing homelessness.